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Company Founded to Advance Concussion Treatment

Football punter

(A. Kotok, Flickr)

21 January 2016. A San Diego surgeon who conducts research on traumatic brain injury started a new company to take his discovery of a drug for treating concussions to market. The company, Oxeia Biopharmaceuticals founded by Vishal Bansal, began operations today, and revealed its corporate and scientific boards.

Bansal studied the connection between metabolic and neurological functions while on the faculty at University of California in San Diego medical school, until 2015. His research uncovered the role of mitochondria, the energy centers in cells, that affects the pathway between the gut and the brain underlying traumatic brain injuries. This pathway, known as the neuroenteric axis, also plays a role in other neurodegenerative disorders.

From these studies, Bansal discovered a treatment code-named OXE-103 harnessing the neuroenteric axis that Bansal calls in a company statement, “a powerful mediator of gut and brain physiology.” Bansal adds, “From this research, we have identified OXE-103, a molecule with significant potential to treat neurometabolic dysfunction in concussions. In doing so, we may be able to improve overall brain health and recovery.”

Oxeia gained an exclusive license from UC-San Diego to commercialize the technology behind OXE-103. The company says OXE-103 acts by stabilizing mitochondrial dysfunction in neurons, or nerve cells, and freely crosses the blood-brain barrier. Preclinical studies, the company adds, confirm OXE-103’s activity mechanisms and demonstrate its effectiveness in models of traumatic brain injury.

The first target for OXE-103 is concussions, a mild form of traumatic brain injury. Not all bumps to the head cause injury, but when normal functions of the brain are affected, traumatic brain injury occurs, with concussions being the most common form. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010, some 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, or deaths in the U.S. were attributed to traumatic brain injury, leading to 50,000 fatalities.

Bansal is Oxeia’s chief scientist, with co-founders Kartik Shah and Amit Munshi serving as president and board chair respectively. Mark Corrigan, a pharmaceutical company executive and developer of neurological drugs, chairs the company’s scientific advisory board.

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